Saturday, 14 March 2020

The Populists

And now: rousing music.
A cadre of recruits sing
‘Oh, to be in England!’
as if not already there.

Tiresome rhetorics
speak on our behalf,
sustained by violins –
cadenzas swell to embrace
dawn over the shires
with audible relief tones –
though something always
keeping out of reach.

"And so let us receive blame,
each according to our tribe,
and may those exonerated
forever receive beatitude
each according to their preferences:
mown lawns, canal banks, lupins,
share dividends, King Edwards,
warm dark ale.

"But let those be cursed
who substitute
stern oaks,
lakes, lochs,
thatch, ketch,
for that which
fetches us now
slip road,

"Out, damn’d modernisers, globalists.
Let there be no illusion.
Let there be no allusion –
least of all to
foreign accents …"

Allow us our own miseries
in bleak, windswept patches.

Saturday, 7 March 2020

Definitions of a crisis

Swim out now into that blue/azure sea,
you're either a tourist or a refugee –
where you were born is everything
or nothing if you happened to be born
in places where such things don’t matter.

I have a passport: it’s changing colour
even as we speak. And the headlines bark
like stray dogs, like rabid warnings
of what we’re expected to believe –
and the easy allocations of blame.

Somewhere over the city clouds form,
but the mountain adopts autumnal promise –
completely out of season –
which is what this man crossing the road dismisses.

March 2020